At a presentation highlighting low pay in the early years education sector were: (back, from left) Brian Duncan, Mercer ; Senator Paul Gavan (SF), Noel Rock TD (FG), Darragh O'Connor SIPTU. (Front, from left): Anne Rabbitte TD (FF), Kathleen Funchion and Denise McCormilla National Childcare Network,

Local childcare sector’s ‘staffing crisis’

A STAFFING crisis where almost 30 per cent of early years educators have left their jobs because of low pay has prompted renewed calls for government investment in the childcare sector to secure appropriate pay scales for early years workers.
A new report by Mercer highlighting the need for increased government investment, supported by a sectoral employment order to secure appropriate national salary scales, was presented to a cross party meeting of politicians in Leinster House recently.
Marie Daly, CEO of the Crann Support Group which operates several community childcare facilities in the County, was among those who attended the meeting.
The report, commissioned by National Childhood Network and the Crann Support Group, highlighted Mercer’s recommended salary scales for staff employed in centre based services following their evaluation of various staff roles. The pay scale report, which compared the roles and responsibilities of early year’s staff to similar professions, highlighted the extent of low pay within the sector.
According to a recent report by Early Childhood Ireland, the current average rate of pay for an early year’s educator is €11.12 per hour. The Mercer report recommends that early years educators should have a starting rate of €13.31 per hour, with the top of the pay scale at €21.70 per hour.
Crann Support Group CEO, Marie Daly said: “The government and media focus on affordability of services for parents does not address the increasing challenges faced by providers and staff delivering services, especially those involved in the delivery of full day care provision and striving to deliver to a high quality standard. These challenges are so great that many services are struggling to survive.